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So, after all the Alice books, I returned to rereading some fun Georgia Nicolson books by Louise Rennison. "Startled by His Furry Shorts" is book 7 (and can I just say I *still* haven't found book 4 and I'm starting to go a bit manic??). The school is turned upside down by a rousing performance of "Macbeth", with the Foxwood Lads helping out with lights and props and such. Of course Dave the Laugh (oo-er) causes much hilariosity. Masimo's ex-girlfriend visits to tell him she is getting married, so now he feels free to date Georgia. He tells her this just as Robbie shows up, back from Kiwi-a-gogo-land. Of course. Georgia brilliantly evades the situation by running off to catch a nonexistent train. Excellent diversion!

So Robbie is back and misses her. And Masimo wants to date her. And Dave the Laugh is still edging about. Good grief, what's a girl to do? (I could tell you, Georgia, but I try to keep this blog PG). Wet Lindsay smarms her way back into Robbie's life, so that solves that. Georgia decides to give Masimo a go, but he is leaving for Italy in a bit. Can Georgia behave while he is gone? No, is the answer you are looking for.

So even though Georgia is convinced Masimo is her one and only Luurve God, she still keeps accidentally snogging Dave the Laugh. When she and Dave dance at the club while the Stiff Dylans are playing, Masimo gets the horn and tries to take Dave outside to settle things. Georgia stops them from fighting (girl, you mad) and Masimo goes off, sad. Oh man, she's made a right mess of things. This never would have happened if you'd gone with Dave in the first place LIKE I TOLD YOU TO A MILLION TIMES!

Okay, so I finished off the Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I went back and read "The Agony of Alice". Alice has just moved to Silver Spring and hopes to be in beautiful Miss Cole's 6th grade class, where she is sure Miss Cole can teach her all about how to be the perfect young woman. However, Alice is assigned to dumpy Mrs. Plotkin's class, and she's miserable about it. She and Pam fight, vying for attention, but by the end of the school year Alice learns a valuable lesson in how much the inner person matters.

Alice is determined to be universally liked in 7th grade, but Denise Whitlock has it out for her from the start, until Alice comes up with a way to ease the tensions between them. Her dad and Lester are both having girl problems, though. Alice would love to help out, but somehow whenever she helps she only makes it worse.

Alice feels left out of so many things, so she joins a fan writing club at school and she and Pam and a few other girls get their ears pierced and start an earring club. Alice doesn't enjoy either activity much, but she feels like she has to do *something* to fit in and make friends. The book ends with her refusing to hurt Patrick in order to be part of the popular crowd, a decision that wasn't easy but was the best thing in the long run.

Alice has a terrible secret--she's scared of deep water. She's dreading the summer now and time spent at Mark Stedmiester's pool. Lester steps up and teaches her how to swim. Liz feels guilty about sneaking a copy of "Arabian Nights" out of her parent's room and ready the provocative bits to them, so she confesses to her priest who tells her it's okay to be curious but she ought to tell her folks what she did.

The summer after graduating from high school, Liz, Pam, Alice, and Gwen work for a cruise ship in the Chesapeake Bay. They get to meet some fun guys, but it's hard work. Then, Pam's dad and his girlfriend show up for a cruise with her mother right behind, making a fool out of herself until she gets kicked off the boat and Pam is humiliated. A generator blows, and the ship has to be towed back to port and the cruise line goes belly up, so Alice returns home for the rest of the summer.

And finally, the one we've all been waiting for! (STOP if you don't want it spoiled!)
This is it--the rest of Alice's life.
Alice goes off to college. Her first roommate is a disaster, but she makes some new friends and has some good times. Patrick decides to join the Peace Corps, and they break up. Alice dates, and ultimately gets engaged to Dave, but calls it off when she decides they don't have enough in common to make a marriage work. On her way to visit a friend, Alice runs into Patrick in the airport and they reunite. They start dating again, and get married. They have two kids: a girl and a boy. They live in Spain for a few years. Lester gets married and he and his wife have trouble conceiving until she finally gives birth to triplets. The older folks start dying: Patrick's parents, Ben (I wept like a baby). Liz and Gwen get married and have kids. Pam eventually gets married. The book ends with them returning to dig up the time capsule they buried back in 7th grade, when they are 60. I wept some more. All in all, it was a great run. I was kind of disappointed that Alice and Patrick got married because seriously, who marries the guy they've been dating since they were 11? Not too many people, that's who. But it was sweet and I'm glad Alice had a long and happy life.

Volume 20 of Robert Kirkman's "Walking Dead" is titled "All Out War". Rick convinces the group that they can't let Negan keep taking advantage of them and must strike first. They do, but Holly is captured by Negan and Shiva the tiger is killed in a zombie ambush.

"Starting with Alice" by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is the first Alice prequel. Alice's family has just moved from Chicago to Maryland. Alice's dad brings her home a kitten she names Oatmeal. She starts hanging out with the boy next door, Donald, and makes friends at her new school: Sara and Rosalind. She is having trouble with a mean sixth grade crossing guard who doesn't like her, and three snobby girls in her class. It was nice sweet to see Alice as a little girl.

Three more earlier Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. I've got the last one now from the library, and I'm dying to get into it, but I still have a few more early ones I'd like to try and read before I do. This is one of the "prequels", when Alice is in elementary school and one of her best friends, Sara, moves away. Her brother Lester breaks his ankle and almost misses his prom, until Alice comes up with a great way for him to go. At the end of the book, their dad Ben has announced that he's bought a house in nearby Silver Spring and they are moving.

In "Alice in Lace" one of Alice's teachers, Mr. Everett, has an interesting assignment for his students: he will give each of them a real life situation that they have to plan for, examining all the options and determining which one is the best. Alice and Patrick are engaged to be married and must plan a wedding, rent their first apartment, and buy furniture with only $5,000. One of their classmates, Jill, has to plan a funeral for her grandmother and she's so irritated by the assignment she falsely accuses the teacher of touching her inappropriately when he refuses to change the assignment for her. Jill is the one who later on gets knocked up on purpose because her boyfriend's mom doesn't like her. So yeah, do the opposite of what Jill does, kids, and you'll be a-okay.

The cover of this book is just--I don't even know. What the heck happened to Pam's hair? She never wore a crappy knock-off Annie wig in the book. What were they thinking? Anyway, it's the summer before high school and the girls decide to get in shape and start exercising and watching what they eat. A careless remark by Justin makes Elizabeth take it too far, however, and she becomes dangerously thin. Alice gets in trouble with her dad and is grounded. Alice volunteers at a local hospital and is there when her beloved teacher, Mrs. Plotkin, dies. She's disappointed when her boyfriend, Patrick, tells her he is going out of town the same week her father is going to visit Sylvia in England. She had hoped for a little alone time with him (Alice, you naughty minx!). Sylvia and Ben call from England with the news that they're engaged!

Back to Georgia Nicolson rereads by Louise Rennison. I have somehow misplaced book four of this series (tragedico!). So this is book 5. Robbie has left for Kiwi-a-gogo-land, and Georgia knows she'll never be happy again. At least, until the new lead singer for the Stiff Dylans, Masimo, otherwise known as the Italian Stallion, lands. Oo-er.

In book 6, Georgia goes out with Masimo, but he is also dating Wet Lindsay. Georgia doesn't want to lose him, but she also doesn't want to share him, so she tells him, and the book ends with him saying he will think about it. Robbie is writing letters and missing her from New Zealand, and Dave the Laugh is acting quite bizarre, talking about missed opportunities and whatnot, with random snogging thrown in for good measure.
Ah, to have Georgia's problems, just for one day! :)

A little break from the Alice books for a bit, and back to the world of adult thrillers. Anders de la Motte finishes up his Game trilogy with "Bubble". It was really great, I loved the ending and how he tied it all up in a way that was deeply satisfying and still made sense. HP is determined to bring the Game Master down, but who can he trust? Even his sister, Becca, appears to be in on it, working for Tage, whom HP suspects is the mastermind behind everything. Becca is researching things on her own and discovers just how far back and reaching the Game goes--even her long dead father was a part of it.

I like Diane Keaton a lot. I enjoyed her first memoir, and her second, "Let's Just Say it Wasn't Pretty", was good, too. In this one, Diane examines beauty and what makes us think things are beautiful. She also talks about her own insecurities with her looks, which surprised the heck out of me because I always thought she was so beautiful (she still is) and of course I was wicked jealous because hey, Woody Allen. God, the crush I had on him 20 some years ago!! Anyway, I like how she knows she's not perfect and doesn't try to be, and encourages the rest of us to do the same and enjoy what makes us different. I will try :)

Once again, all Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Yes, this is what I've spent every moment of my time off doing. Yes, I am ridiculous. Here we go!
Alice is finding out having Sylvia as a stepmom isn't as awesome as she thought it would be. They fight all the time: about the cat Sylvia adopts without asking first, the house remodel, Alice borrowing the car. Alice is pressured to have sex with Tony, but decides she's not ready. When her ride gets drunk at a party, Alice refuses to get in the car with him and is about to call Lester for a ride when her friend crashes his car and nearly kills a little girl.

Alice invites a senior she has a crush on to the Sadie Hawkins dance. They have fun, but no sparks fly. When the school newspaper's features editor quits in a fit of pique, Alice is promoted to her job. Alice makes Pam try out for the school musical, and Pam earns the role of an understudy. Her friend Molly is getting better after fighting cancer, but Pam ends up getting pregnant. I was disappointed that Naylor took the easy way out on this one and had Pam miscarry before she had to make a decision. I know, it's a tricky subject to write about, but it happens to teen girls and I think it should have been examined more. Patrick takes Alice to his senior prom and they have a wonderful time. Could they be back on as a couple?

Patrick has left for the University of Chicago. Alice goes to visit him when she goes back for her cousin Carol's wedding, and they get pretty close to making love. Alice and her friends volunteer at a soup kitchen for a week and meet an intensely religious woman who makes Alice question her own religious beliefs. When her friend Mark is killed in a car crash, Alice questions life in general.

Alice's school is being tested by hate groups, and Alice befriends a Sudanese refugee. Marilyn, Lester's old girlfriend, and her husband are expecting their first baby. Alice convinces Lester to take her on a weekend college tour and makes a mess of it with her lack of planning. One of the substitute teachers at school molests Amy, a developmentally challenged girl, and Alice makes a bad decision reporting it in the school newspaper.

The last half of senior year finds Alice busy as anything. She gets a big part in the school play of "Cheaper by the Dozen", she's accepted to the University of Maryland, and she takes Patrick to her senior prom, which lands on her 18th birthday. Lots of changes are in store for Alice and her friends. One of the girls she knows, Jill, gets pregnant on purpose when her boyfriend's mom disapproves of her and tries to break them up. Alice thinks she made a mistake (yes, Alice. You are correct). I can't wait to find out what happens in the last two books, and I still have a few of the older ones to go back to that I had to put on hold because they were checked out or at other libraries.

All the books in this post are Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (I don't want to keep repeating myself). "The Summer of the First Boyfriend" as Alice's dad calls it. Alice and Patrick are officially a couple, but what does that mean? Alice kind of misses when they were just friends, without all the added pressures of kissing and going to Patrick's parents' country club for dinner.

Alice is now 13. She and her friends, Pam and Liz, take an overnight train ride to Chicago to visit Alice's Aunt Sally. Pam flirts with an older man and finds herself in a sticky situation she can't get out of, and Alice and Liz come to her rescue. Alice feels very ordinary and not quite special as her friends.

Alice wants to be more exciting, more outrageous. Her father gets angry when she goes to school with her hair dyed green and in spikes, even if it is only for one day. Crystal, Lester's ex-girlfriend, invites her to be a bridesmaid at her wedding and Alice is uncomfortable at the lingerie bridal shower party (good grief, who wouldn't be, at 13? What in the heck was Crystal thinking, inviting her to that, anyway? And why did her dad let her go?). She does have fun at the wedding, though.

Alice is working hard to get Sylvia Summers to marry her dad (spoiler alert: she does!). Poor Liz has to go for a pelvic exam, and she and Pam go along for moral support (and also to find out what happens during an exam). She's still thinking about other guys and wondering if Patrick is the "right" one.

Aunt Sally and cousin Carol are visiting from Chicago, and Alice gets to ask Carol about what sex is really like. I don't remember being this preoccupied with sex as a young teen, but maybe because I didn't have any girlfriends to talk about stuff like this with, who knows? Alice also discovers how easy it is to be prejudiced even when you don't mean to be during Consciousness Raising week at her school. She's devastated when Sylvia announces she's going to England to teach for a year.

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